Oh, my friends, magical realism is not a trope, and it is not a story that happens to have magic in it. It is a literary movement of the colonized.
–Ann Dávila Cardinal, Jan 17, 2022
This tweet from January was the closest I’ve come to going viral. Someone had posted about magical realism as a “trope,” and after a series of elaborate and rather colorful expletives in Spanish shouted at the screen, I decided I had to publicly respond. I had a lot of feelings about this, as I’m sure most Latine people did. Mainly? The idea that someone reduced the literary movement that is so important to all Latine cultures and was the foundation of my life as a writer to a trope just made me tired. I’m not going to define magical realism here. Definitions vary and it is often an emotional and hot button topic (hence the need to scrape myself off the ceiling after seeing the original tweet). Plus, about a gazillion undergrads have written about it ad nauseum. No. I want to talk about what it means to me, a writer of Puerto Rican heritage, and why my new novel, The Storyteller’s Death, took a magical realist form.